Gain staging workflow

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Neil
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Gain staging workflow

Post by Neil » Tue Sep 27, 2016 3:14 am

I am practicing gain staging on the Heartbeats sample project. I think my workflow on this might not be the most efficient:

1 remove all effects and set the fader to default by double tapping
2 Watch the fader meter on a track to see if it goes outside -20 to -10 on the dbFS meter (the smaller font numbers)
3 if it needs adjusting swap to the Edit interface, select the region(s) and use the pull down to reduce or increase the gain
4 Swap back to the channels view and playback again
5 repeat from step 2 until the level is acceptable

Now, this works, but on multiple tracks it takes ages and is very prone to errors. Am I missing a handy tool on either view that would let me do this gain staging without changing between views? For example, I can see the vertical level bar on the edit screen, but there aren't any numbers to indicate the dbFS.

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Anthony Alves
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Re: Gain staging workflow

Post by Anthony Alves » Tue Sep 27, 2016 9:50 am

The only way to lower the tracks volume in the edit screen is to use the tracks Volume Automation and so that is what your doing which is no different than lowering the track fader. In addition the reason you don't see the audio level meter go down when you lower the tracks volume with the track fader on the mixer is because you have your meters set to PreFader as oposed to PostFader. You set this up in the SETTINGS page found under the MENU. If set to PostFader the meters will reflect the console fader setting. The PreFader setting allows you to see the exact level that is playing directly from the audio file. If this is too hot, ie. in the red, then you can use the option to lower the raw audio file to a resonable level and you do this by taping the audio file you wish to lower, select GAIN under the PROCESS MENU and set how many db's you wish to lower the file by. Eg, -5db to lower by 5db or increase the gain by not including the minus sign,eg, 5db. This is of course done after an audio file has been recorded. Bottom line is there is no need to do this back and forth adjusting. Just record your audio not too hot by tapping and holding on the channels red record light until a small menu appears and select SET RECORD LEVEL and lower the gain input dial down a few db before you record the track. For playback just use your faders to lower or raise a tracks volume with the faders set to PostFader. As for seeng the fader db amount when using the automation volume adjustment in the edit screen, just look under the Project Name and you will see the db amount displayed as you lower or raise the gain of one of the automation points. I hope this helps you understand the gain staging options available in AuriaPro. Cheers

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martygras
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Re: Gain staging workflow

Post by martygras » Tue Sep 27, 2016 10:40 am

Right on Anthony. Well spoke.
I think knowing about pre-fader levels is something many don't know about.
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Neil
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Re: Gain staging workflow

Post by Neil » Wed Sep 28, 2016 7:18 am

Thanks for the explanation. So the best plan is to record at the right level so you don't need to do gain staging at all then mix with the meters on the faders showing post fader.

With the Heartbeats demo project, I don't get to do that as it has already been recorded, which is why I was attempting to reduce the hotness of each raw track by gain staging.

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Anthony Alves
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Re: Gain staging workflow

Post by Anthony Alves » Wed Sep 28, 2016 7:42 am

That's right Niel sometmes when importing files already recorded into AuriaPro they can be too hot so lowering the audio file gain using the gain adjustment found under the Process Menu solves this problem and lets you reduce the audio file gain so that you can carry on with your mixing. You can use the multiselect tool in the editor to adjust the gain of more than one track at a time saving you from all that adjusting of gains. This extra headroom is very important especially if you will be adding plugins to the tracks. Remember to record your audio with a low level as you can always increase the audio level. This is totally acceptable in digital audio as you won't raise the noise floor of the track by increasing it's level unlike analog which does. Cheers and thanks Martygras.

tsutek
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Re: Gain staging workflow

Post by tsutek » Tue Oct 11, 2016 1:45 am

I wish there was some more metering options in Auria. I find myself switching from PFL to postfade level metering constantly. Something that would show the level change between plugin insertions would bee great! I'd even take a static peak value as a number over nothing, no need to display any fancy meters if CPU cycles are a concern.

Bob Amser
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Re: Gain staging workflow

Post by Bob Amser » Fri Oct 14, 2016 1:16 am

OK, I'm feeling a bit of a thickie- that pre/post fader level thing escaped me. Explains how sometimes it seems like whatever I do the track is hot.

Thanks for the step-by-step, Anthony.
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Anthony Alves
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Re: Gain staging workflow

Post by Anthony Alves » Fri Oct 14, 2016 7:10 am

Bob Amser wrote:OK, I'm feeling a bit of a thickie- that pre/post fader level thing escaped me. Explains how sometimes it seems like whatever I do the track is hot.

Thanks for the step-by-step, Anthony.
Heres a trick. Too often people insert the very first plugin as a compressor onto a track, however this is a problem because often the compressors make up gain is on as well. There are many plug-ins that will increase your gain and dynamic amplitude at various frequencies, these include compressors,expanders,distortions and effects processors,even delays with amplitude gain adjustment. It's always best to insert these types of plug-ins last in your chain. In addition to that with each and every plugin you should lower the output of it slightly. Although this may not give you that sound you really are looking for right away, it is there as the output of a plugin has nothing to do with what the plugin is doing to the track only how much it drives the next plugin in the chain as these are connected in series. The beauty of using the Busses in AP is you can have true parrallel effects, thus controlling the headroom. Too often we try to get to the sound were looking for too quickly in the chain. It's best to build up to this sound slowly in small increments in small amounts and small gain changes. Even an equalizer like the pro Q can add dynamic level of various frequencies. So it really depends on how many plug-ins you will be inserting into that track to get your desired sound. This unfortunately is one of the crutches of mixing in the box. While some outboard analog gear boasts headroom of 60 DB, you won't get anything near that in digital, not at all because 0 in digital means your done there is no more headroom. So it's this narrow band of headroom in digital audio that you have to be careful with and that's why plug-ins into a track are not unlimited Rather it's the reverse, it is very limited. Always keep that in mind when mixing and recording. Try to achieve as close to the sound you looking for on the way in already. This saves you from trying to make it or create it after the recording with multiple plug-ins . Having a clear vision of the sound you want before you start a project is key. The difference between recording and creating is that recording is final and so all the parts and ideas have been rehearsed including what your sound will be. Cheers

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